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High risk third countries include any country which is widely known to face strategic deficiencies, problems of bribery, corruption and financial irregularity and whose laws and regulations for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing are not equivalent with international standards.
A list of high risk countries has been issued by the European Commission and published in the Official Journal of the Union. Firms are encouraged to also use the FATF list identifying High risk and other monitored jurisdictions, with weak measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
In cases where the person coming from high risk third country belongs to a group, that adopts and implements equivalent or stricter than the EU money laundering and terrorist financing group-wide policies and procedures and evidence of full compliance is available, then the EDD requirements may not be automatically applicable. The situation will have to be assessed further.
Firms should apply effective enhanced due diligence (EDD) measures proportionate to the risks, to business relationships and transactions with clients from high risk third countries.
A business relationship or transaction always involves a high risk third country if:
a) the funds were generated in a high risk third country;
b) the funds are received from a high risk third country;
c) the destination of funds is a high risk third country;
d) the firm is dealing with a natural person or legal entity (including BO) resident or established in a high risk third country;
e) the firm is dealing with a trustee established in a high risk third country or with a trust governed under the law of a high risk third country.
In addition to the above firms should carefully assess the risk associated with business relationships and transactions where:
a) the customer is known to maintain close personal or professional links with a high-risk third country; or
b) beneficial owner(s) is/are known to maintain close personal or professional links with a high-risk third country.
With respect to business relationships or transactions involving high-risk third countries, the following enhanced customer due diligence measures must be applied:
a) Obtain additional information on the customer and on the beneficial owners
b) Obtain additional information on the intended nature of the business relationship
c) Obtain information on the source of funds and source of wealth of the customer and of the beneficial owners
d) Obtain information on the reasons for the intended or performed transactions
e) Obtain the approval of senior management for establishing or continuing the business relationship with such person
f) Conduct enhanced monitoring of the business relationship by increasing the number and timing of controls applied and selecting patterns of transactions that need further examination.
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